Qualifying Examination for PhD Candidates

BUSM Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Pathology PhD graduate students are eligible to take this compulsory examination after successfully completing the required course work. This will typically take place at the end of 2nd year for the PhD students and at the end of third year for the MD-PhD students.

There are two exam periods each year: January-February and May-June

The qualifying examination has two parts:

  1. Written (computer typed) examination. Length 6-8 hours.
    Morning and afternoon sessions consist of essay type questions based on individual course work, directed readings, critiques of selected publications (with an emphasis on experimental design), and evaluation of  pathology seminars.  These study instructions are provided by the individual members of the examination committee no more than two months prior to the examination.  The students are responsible for contacting the committee members.  None of the suggested study material/publications can be brought to the exam.  The answers will be submitted anonymously to the examiners for grading.  Copies of past exams are available.  All candidates will provide a list of their course work and grades to the examination committee.Upon passing the written exam, students will proceed to the oral examination which will take place 7-10 days after the written exam.
  1. Oral examination.  Length 1 ½ – 2 hours.
    Students will present a 10 to 15 minute summary of their thesis/grant proposal and should be prepared to describe and discuss all pertinent methodologies involved.  The choice of presenting either a grant or thesis proposal will be guided by the major advisor, and the presentation may include preliminary results.  The candidates are expected to demonstrate their understanding of the scientific concepts in the proposed research area and be able to critically analyze any preliminary results obtained.  Familiarity with the relevant literature is expected.  Students are encouraged to work closely with their thesis advisors to prepare their exam presentation.

Exam evaluation: pass/fail/conditional pass.  In the event of a conditional pass, the examining committee will define the appropriate corrective steps and provide a time frame for completing these steps.

After passing the qualifying examination the graduate student will proceed with the selection of his or her thesis committee.

Current Members of the Committee are: Dr. J. K. Blusztajn, Dr. B. Slack (committee chair),

Dr. I. Delalle, Dr. D. Remick, Dr. N. Rahimi

Alternate member: Dr. J. Sharon